This fall camp, Jalen Kimber has found more opportunity to show he is as healthy as he’s ever been while fellow cornerbacks Jason Marshall and Devin Moore have been nursing minor injuries.
Kimber transferred to Florida from Georgia last season, but wasn’t able to play his best due to injury. Kimber had an unfortunate incident where he broke his left hand before the opener. Instead of undergoing surgery, he opted to play with a large cast for the first few games and a smaller cast for the second half of the year. Naturally, this made it more difficult for Kimber to play the cornerback position the way it’s supposed to be played. “It’s like taking one hand and putting it behind your back,” he said. “That thing was big, and it was hard to use.”
The cumbersome cast not only made it hard for him to use his hand, but it also affected his playing style, but it didn’t stop him from picking off a pass vs USF and returning it for a touchdown. “It was big thing for me,” Kimber said. “But I felt I had a lot of things to improve on, especially just being limited and having one hand for the whole season.
Jalen Kimber putting in extra effort
This challenge gave him the opportunity to grow and improve as a player. He focused on learning more, dissecting things more, and being more in tune with the game. Despite his injury, Jalen Kimber played in all 13 games last season. He spent more time watching tape, using it as a tool to improve his game. He even had extra meetings with graduate assistants to ask questions about game plans and what the defense wanted to accomplish in certain situations. He knew that to become a better player, he needed to put in the extra effort.
Moreover, Kimber learned to be more mindful of his thoughts while he was injured, which helped guide his road to recovery. He realized that having a positive mindset was crucial, especially when dealing with consecutive injuries. By being in tune with himself and making sure he had positive thoughts, Kimber overcame his difficulties. His determination paid off, and he can now play at 185 pounds this fall.
“I gained an extra about 10 extra pounds, so it’s a really big thing for me,” Kimber said. “It was really important for me because I’ve always been kind of a smaller guy. I just knew this senior year this had to be an important offseason for me, especially like just attacking the weight room and making sure everything was checked off for me personally in my boxes.” This senior year was crucial, and he knew it. He attacked the weight room and made sure that everything was checked off for him personally in his boxes.
Kimber has come a long way since breaking his hand. He has added more weight, improved both his mindset and film study habits, and most importantly, fully recovered from his broken hand. He was relieved to finally ditch the cast and be able to use his hand again. It was a long journey, and Kimber’s perseverance and dedication hope to pay off this fall in an intense battle for the cornerback spot opposite Jason Marshall.
Photo credit: Hannah White, UAA Communications